ON a dark, wintry day, an entire village was brightened by a housing developer's donation.

Children, parents and parish councillors in Uffington celebrated on Wednesday as they unveiled not only a £12,000 new artistic trail around their historic village, but also a £15,000 new playground.

The art trail starts with a new, beautifully-drawn map of Uffington showing some of the village's 31 historic points of interest.

Visitors can then take a leaflet and follow the new hand-carved wooden markers from the Tom Brown's School Museum to the village church and beyond.

The trail was created by Steve Carroll of Greenspace Designs in Devon, who joined the official unveiling at the map board on Wednesday, conveniently overlooking the £15,000 new roundabout and climbing frame in the playground.

He was joined by the village's museum curator Karen Pilcher, who led the creation of the trail.

She said: "Everyone who's seen it has loved it: one woman who came into the shop this morning said it was absolutely fantastic."

The trail and play equipment were both funded by a new housing development in the village.

Gloucestershire-based Redcliffe Homes finished building its 36-home Jacksmeadow estate off Station Road earlier this year.

As standard, the developer and landowner signed a so-called Section 106 agreement with local authorities to contribute towards local council costs affected by the new residents such as road maintenance and school places.

The Jacksmeadow agreement totalled £104,000 but Redcliffe set aside £12,000 which it specifically wanted to be spent on something artistic in the village.

The company handed the cash over to the parish council which then set up a committee to work out how to spend it.

Mrs Pilcher said: "We wanted it to be something useful for the village, so we agreed to create an information board and incorporating the village trail was a good idea.

"It means people come into the village, park up, then can see the map and say 'oh, I'll go for a walk around the village.

"The board gives you a little history then the leaflet guides you to these markers which have more background."

There are also engraved plaques on the markers perfect for brass rubbings and, with half term coming up, Mrs Pilcher joked that she now had her work cut out for her getting paper and brass crayons ready for what will hopefully be a slew of new visitors to the village.